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Intranet Upgrade & Content Migration

Nuance R&D

Areas of Expertise

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CMS & Intranets
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Upgrades & Migrations


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Technology Used



Nuance is a leading provider of speech and imaging solutions, so when they sought to upgrade their R&D Intranet they partnered with Six Feet Up. We worked with their Site Administrators to provide a system upgrade that incorporated the best of the previous version and was positioned to grow with their business needs.


Nuance offers its many research teams an intranet to house their various documents and media. It was designed to be used by all Nuance R&D departments as well as for project/product development work; providing an extensible framework for hosting groups and/or project information on a centrally maintained site. The intranet combines data from three other portals as well as leverages regular IT backups and Active Directory.


Nuance needed to upgrade to a newer version of Plone as well as migrate all existing content. Compatibility of all working components was a high priority. Customization was required to prevent access to certain content during the migration as well as adjust member folders to streamline case structure and continue to allow full access while logged in. Certain workflow policy features were no longer required, so customizations and security updates were put in place. Integration with Nuance LDAP Server also required knowledge of all content that was provided special roles via the sharing tab.

Implementation Details

Six Feet Up began the Plone upgrade by setting up a local migration environment allowing for a direct copy of data without loss on the client side. In addition a production environment was also setup to allow for development without change to client side until all functions were operational. A customized script was run to allow for migration of content but also to migrate and upgrade all add-on products working on the intranet. Add-on products needed to be 3.x compatible to properly function in the upgrade.

One of the more detailed add-on migrations was for the Blog products. Three seperate blog add-ons had been utilized in the past and the intranet did contain content for all three products. Only one of the blog add-ons continued to be 3.x compatible, so a script had to be developed to bring the other blogs' content into the new blog's template. A catalog search was done to grab all items, create a new folder with same title/id/description/etc and to copy all the data into the new template. Finally the new blog update was checked to confirm nothing was broken during the process.

While the content was being migrated to the updated Plone site, it was important that data not become available to anonymous users. A custom script was used to mark all migrated items to "private" in order to prevent them being viewed by anonymous. Once the data was migrated, approved users could customize what is viewable thru the Sharing Tab. In addition, templates were updated to run a check for anonymous users and if so, redirect the user to the login page tpo further prevent anonymous access.

The Sharing Tab was also utilized to provide special roles to groups that determined the level of access a user was provided. This feature was important for Nuance to help them create connections from Plone to the LDAP server. Six Feet Up created a script that could report a path to an item as well as which groups had been granted permissions to the item via the Sharing Tab. Nuance was them able to hand-tag each item with new permissions associated with their LDAP groups.

The Plone upgrade also allowed Nuance to streamline their member usernames and organization. Previously users were able to use both upper and lower case login names. It was determined that controlling login names to lowercase only would be more efficient. A script ran through the migrated content to detect users that used both lower case and upper case logins. A copy was created from the previous member folder to a new lower case member folder and then applying the correct permissions so the member would continue to have full control over their data. Finally, the script deleted the old upper case member folder to prevent duplication.

With as many user settings that were strengthened through the Plone upgrade, there were some user settings that were not required for Nuance. The Comment Workflow automatically required moderator approval and Nuance did not feel this was necessary feature for their Intranet, so a custom comment workflow was developed to remove the moderator approval. It was applied to all content objects through a security settings update to confirm the new workflow settings were in place.


Upgrading to Plone 3.3.4 provided more options for Nuance's R&D Intranet. Newer add-ons could be integrated for blogging and content creation. Security settings allow for integration with their LDAP server and better management of user logins. Anonymous access can be better controlled and double checked to prevent unauthorized access to information. Working with Six Feet Up saved Nuance time by developing customized scripts that allowed for a more streamlined migration/upgrade without loss of data, updated security settings, and transfer of content to upgraded templates.


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